|Image via CrunchBase|
Snapchat, the trendy smartphone app that lets you send photos and videos that self-destruct after a few seconds ....... Facebook constantly “roams the tech universe in search of interesting technology, then mercilessly assimilates all the best stuff into its ever-larger catalog of features.” Over the last couple years it has copied the defining ideas behind Foursquare, Twitter, Google+, Groupon, GroupMe, Instagram, Quora — and now Snapchat. .... The only reason that the app could acquire millions of users in a few months’ time is because Snapchat spread through each of its users’ Facebook friends. Instagram and Pinterest, the two other recent social-networking successes, also benefited tremendously from their users’ Facebook’s connections. .... Every photo that people were sharing through Instagram was a dagger at the heart of Facebook, the world’s largest photo site. That’s why Facebook attempted to copy Instagram—see its Camera app—and then had to buy it. Similarly, every message that you send to your Facebook friends through Snapchat is a lost opportunity for Facebook. That’s why Facebook had to squash it. ... But Poke is already losing to Snapchat in the app standings. Like Facebook’s failed imitations of Instagram and Quora, Poke’s quick decline shows that if Facebook wants to stay on the vanguard of online communication, it needs to act even before it sees an opportunity—by the time somebody else has had success with something, Facebook’s version isn’t going to catch on.